Saluda applies for $777k grant to fix water interconnect

Published 11:14 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The City of Saluda has applied for a $777,100 grant to solve a problem with the water interconnect with Columbus and Tryon.

Saluda commissioners met April 8 and heard from water/sewer commissioner George Sweet regarding the grant application.

The city has applied for the grant through the N.C. Rural Center, which would isolate the city’s water system and eliminate pressure problems when Saluda sends water down the mountain to Tryon.

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Saluda discovered issues with the interconnect during a water model study conducted last year. The study concluded that if Saluda sends the maximum amount of 400,000 gallons per day to Tryon, water pressures in Saluda would suffer dramatically.

Sweet said if the city is awarded the grant, plans are to include a new 100,000 water storage tank and would also replace a lot of Saluda’s water lines that are currently too small.

Saluda resident Karen Bultman asked city council if the other towns are going to help with any matches associated with the grant.

Sweet said it is Saluda’s expense but the city is expecting for the grant to be approved because the problem was caused during a state funded project.

The grant application includes an estimated $243,000 in new water lines, $40,000 in valves and appurtenances, $15,000 in asphalt pavement repairs, $4,000 for driveway repair, $40,000 in actuated valve bank, $45,000 for a duplex booster station, $20,000 for a booster station enclosure and piping, $20,000 for SCADA controls and $200,000 for a 100,000-gallon elevated storage tank.

The grant also includes a 10 percent contingency estimated at $62,700, design and engineering at $55,600, construction administration and inspection at $26,800 and surveying at $5,000, according to the application.
Columbus, Saluda and Tryon agreed a few years ago to connect its systems following a drought that forced the towns to enact mandatory water restrictions for customers. The joint water project was accomplished through grants and the towns sharing a loan. All the towns approved the final agreement last year.

Under the agreement, all three towns share ownership of the approximate 7-mile-long water line, the 85,000-gallon storage tank, five booster pumps and a valve and master meter. Both Tryon and Saluda picked up new customers along the water line.

The line means that ultimately water can be shared from Asheville and Hendersonville to Polk County, since Saluda obtains its water from Hendersonville. Polk County also just completed connecting its Mill Spring well system to Columbus, so the towns and county could all share water if necessary.

The Howard Gap line between Tryon and Saluda was made possible through a $1.73 million grant the towns shared from the N.C. Rural Center and a $300,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Each town is also sharing the financing of $1.43 million obtained from the North Carolina Drinking Water Fund, which is a no-interest loan.

Saluda does not know when it will receive word whether or not the grant is approved, nor details on if a local match will be required.